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Latest news archive

Items from February to June 2010 appear on this page

Items from previous years have been archived, but can still be accessed by clicking the links below:
| Jan - Jun 2008 | Jul - Aug 2008 | Sep - Nov 2008 | Jan - June 2009 | July - Nov 2009 | Jul - Dec 2010 | Jan - June 2011 | July - Dec 2011 | Jan - June 2012 | July - Sep 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022


Mountain Ringlet (Stuart Benn)Stuart Benn saw at least 17 Mountain Ringlets at 0915 this morning between 670m and 770m on the south slope of Carn Leac (NN 406967). He then had a further 3 on the southern slope of Creag a'Chail (NN 409954).

Thanks to Stuart for his report and permission to use his photo.


Thanks to Andy Scott for reporting at least 12 Northern Brown Argus feeding on rockrose on the cliff near Hilton (Balintore), grid NH884775. There were also 2 Ringlets at this site. A further 5 Ringlets were seen on the path to Kildary Loch (NH7675) - they are obviously spreading rapidly in Easter Ross.


Brian Neath carried out a moth trapping at Loch Duich Primary School, Inverinate, last night and examined the catch this morning with the staff and children.

The most amazing feature was a total of 63 Buff Ermine, 17 being the previous highest count for the whole of Wester Ross. Needless to say however it was the Elephant Hawk-moth and the 3 Poplar Hawk-moths that got the kids most excited.

112 macro-moths of 28 species were recorded including Pebble Hook-tip, Campion, Grey Dagger and Snout. Other firsts for the year included Riband Wave, Barred Straw, Triple-spotted Clay, Double Square-spot and Small Square-spot. Whilst releasing the moths along a nearby forest track Brian saw his first two Common Blues of the year.


Dark Green Fritillary with unusual upper wing pattern (T Mainwood)Tony Mainwood photographed this striking Dark Green Fritillary at Loch Fleet today, whose black markings on the upperside are extended and confluent. A photo of a typical specimen, also taken by Tony at Loch Fleet, is shown below.

Tony also recorded 2 Ringlets at Camore Wood.

Dark Green Fritillary with typical wing pattern (T Mainwood)


Please click on the images to enlarge them.


Tony saw his first Meadow Browns (2) of the year at Loch Fleet today. Marcus Conway also recorded 2 at Blackfold, Abriachan, near Inverness, just opposite Blackfold Cottage.

Near Findhorn beach, Bill Slater recorded 40+ male and 1 female Common Blue. Also 10 Small Heath, 2 Meadow Brown and 9 Six-spot Burnet moths.

25/06/2010 Tony Mainwood recorded 27 Dark Green Fritillaries on his Loch Fleet transect, plus 2 Red Admirals and 2 Painted Ladies.
23/06/2010 First Ringlet sighting? George Mair recorded 1 at Crannoch Hill, near Cullen, NJ 522 665, on Moray/Aberdeenshire border.
22/06/2010 Again at Portknockie, NJ 490 687, a worn looking Painted Lady. Also Common Blues (males) becoming more numerous. Thanks to George Mair for these reports.
18/06/2010 At Portknockie, east Moray, NJ 490 687, George Mair recorded 2 male Common Blues.

Northern Brown Argus at Rogart (T Mainwood)In SE Sutherland, Tony Mainwood recorded 2 Common Blues on his Loch Fleet transect, and a Northern Brown Argus at Rogart.

Thanks to Tony for the photo of the Northern Brown Argus.

At Culbin Forest, Moray, Bill Slater counted 59 Dingy Skippers, 4 Green-veined Whites, 1 Green Hairstreak, 25 Small Blues, 6 Speckled Woods, 8 Small Heaths, and 4 Mother Shipton moths.

The route taken was the same as that on 16/06/2009 but on this occasion there were no Common Blues or Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. 6 of the Small Heaths were seen at Lake of Moy, along with 1 worn looking Dingy Skipper and the 4 Mother Shiptons.


Thanks to Brian Neath for the following report from the Dornie area: "After 10 days away I was interested to find that Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary had completely replaced Pearl-bordered on my transect on 8th June with 17 present compared with 7 Pearl-bordered on 27th May.

"The only other species present on 8th June were 18 Small Heath and a single Speckled Wood. However this gave me my highest total of butterflies on the transect so far this year, i.e. 36. I was surprised to see two Orange-tips at Camas-luinie today (10th June) - rather a late date for the Lochalsh area - and still a rather worn Peacock also present."


We were delighted to receive this message from Elliott Staley:

Chequered Skipper (phot by Elliott Staley)Two years ago, I emailed you with a photo of Chequered Skipper, which you kindly put on your website (see Latest News item dated 05/06/2008). This year I have been to Scotland again with my parents and had a great holiday. I have taken some different photographs of Chequered Skipper and Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, the weather was extremely good considering that there was over a metre of snow at Easter! When visiting the area we saw a range of Butterflies: Green-Veined White - Lots Orange Tip - Lots Green Hairstreak – 1 Spean Bridge, 2 L Arkaig Speckled Wood – 1 L Arkaig Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary – 3 L Arkaig Chequered Skipper – 4 Spean Bridge 12 L Arkaig Plus Azure Hawker, plus lots of day time flying moths.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (photo by Elliot Staley)I have now seen all the British Butterflies, my last one was Heath Fritillary, I am sending you a copy of the report (PDF 278kb) I wrote for our Bird Club. I have been making bookmarks and key rings to raise money for Butterfly Conservation at Prees Heath in Shropshire (site for Silver studded blue) and last year I raised £70. If you send me your home address I would like to give you one of my bookmarks. I have attached photos of Chequered Skippers and Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary at Spean Bridge and Loch Arkaig,

Best Wishes Elliott Staley (aged 12)

Elliott's photos show one of the Chequered Skippers at Spean Bridge on 3rd June, and the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Loch Arkaig on the same day. Please read his article which you can access via the link above - it's well worth it!

Thanks for visiting our site, Elliott, and we wish you every success with your fundraising initiatives. Well done.


Jenny Mallett, Branch Organiser at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch, sent us the following observations from her recent holiday in the Highlands: "4 Chequered Skipper in the car park at Ariundle Oakwood (near Strontian). There were also Green-veined Whites and Orange Tips (with ova). We also saw 2 Chequered Skipper near Polloch (NM 795 685), north of Strontian."

On May 31st Jenny recorded 5 Green Hairstreak at Inverlaidnan Hill, near Slochd.

04/06/2010 Over at Whitewells, near Cornhill in Aberdeenshire, Roy Leverton recorded his first Small Heath this year on his transect, and a Painted Lady in his garden.

Small Pearl-bordered and Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (T Mainwood)At Rogart today, Tony Mainwood recorded 2 Small Heath, at least 2 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and about 20 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries.

Tony's photo shows a fresh Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (lower) and a more worn looking Pearl-bordered Fritillary on the same flowerhead. The differences in the upper wing patterns are clear - connected black chevrons on the dark border and black spots closer to the border in the much fresher Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.


On a route following the shoreline from Spey Bay to the Tynet Burn, there were 40+ Small Blue, the majority between the houses and the shingle bar. Further east, between the golf course and the shore, 2 Dingy Skipper were found, confirming it is still present in VC94 (Banffshire).

fresh looking PeacockOther highlights on the coastal path included an extremely fresh looking Peacock, an early July Belle, 6 Silver Y (clearly an arrival of migrants), an early specimen of July Belle, and Grapholita lunulana, a scarce tortricid moth associated with bitter vetch and a new record for Banffshire.

Returning from the Tynet Burn on the Speyside Way, in the conifers next to the golf course, 8 Speckled Wood, a Tawny-barred Angle and a Bordered White were seen.


Small Blue (T Mainwood)Tony Mainwood recorded 14 Small Blues on the Loch Fleet transect, the highest count so far at this recently colonised site.

He also saw his first Small Heath of the year at Loch Fleet.

Thanks to Tony for the photo of the Small Blue.

02/06/2010 In her south facing garden at Fortrose, Liz Lasota saw a male Common Blue.

Dingy Skipper at Assich Forest (Photo by S Gyseman)An interesting record of Dingy Skippers in woodland at Assich Forest on Nairnside, from Suzanne Gyseman:

'This afternoon (02 June) my son and I found Dingy Skippers (up to three seen at one time) along an open verge with lots of bird's foot trefoil in foresty, Assich Forest, at grid ref NH807468.'

Thanks to Suzanne and Rowan for permission to use the photo.


Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth (photo by Pete Moore)Another Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth sighting notified by Pete Moore - this time by an RSPB volunteer in the back garden of the Insh RSPB office this morning!

Thanks to Pete for the photo opposite.

Also, on the Black Isle at Bogbuie Wood, Margaret Currie and Andy Scott found at least 14 specimens within 100 yards, feeding on birds-foot trefoil.

Check out Moths of the Month, June 2008 for more information about this moth.

01/06/2010 An exciting discovery of Dingy Skipper at Bogbuie Wood near Culbokie on the Black Isle, by Margaret Currie and Andy Scott.

Today, Pete Moore checked out a well-known orchid meadow near Boat of Garten where he had previously noted plenty of Devils-bit Scabious, the foodplant of Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth, and within minutes of entering the field they saw their target species. With a bit of wandering they found several more at this site.

On 16th May, Pete saw one at Insh Marshes RSPB reserve, right next to the path near to the car-park during a visit by Tain and District Field Club. This was a "first" for the reserve.

Just a couple of days later, one was seen 1km away at Tromie Meadow, also on the reserve and Amy Huff, BTCV Moth Apprentice, saw two there shortly afterwards. Although this species might in some places be thought to be overlooked, there have been so many moth-ers visiting and working at Insh Marshes over the years, without previous records, Pete is sure this is a newly colonised site.


At Loch Garten, in front of the Visitor Centre, Marcus Conway saw 3 Green Hairstreaks.


Dingy Skipper (copyright ebirder)Marcus Conway recorded 12 Dingy Skippers and 3 Peacocks at Ardersier this pm.

Thanks to Marcus for allowing us to use this fine image of the Dingy Skipper. (Copyright ebirder, www.ebirder.net)

27/05/2010 Brian Neath reports that Pearl-bordered Fritillary seems to have peaked on his Dornie transect on 23rd when he recorded 16. Down to 7 today (27th) but it was a much cooler day. He had the first Small Heath on 14th and there were 5 today. Speckled Wood numbers still low with just two today, and none seen in the garden as yet
23/05/2010 Along an old disused stretch of the A9, north of Lynwilg to the west of the new A9, at a part next to a south-east facing bracken covered hillside, Bob and Audrey Turner netted 2 Fritillaries, both of which turned out to be Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Thanks to Bob and Audrey for their contributions from Badenoch & Strathspey.

Thanks to Scott Shanks of Glasgow and South West Scotland Branch for the following records from Culbin Forest: 74 Dingy Skippers, 23 Speckled Woods, 2 Small Coppers, 6 Green Hairstreaks, 9 Green-veined Whites, 2 Small Whites and a single Peacock. These were recorded during the afternoon when it was generally overcast.

At Findhorn Dunes, NJ 045 647, Bill Slater found 4 Dingy Skipper, 1 Small Copper and 1 Speckled Wood.

22/05/2010 Bob and Audrey Turner recorded 1 Dingy Skipper at Glen Feshie today.
20/05/2010 After a long drive from Cambridge, Trevor and Yvonne Sawyer were rewarded with the sight of two freshly-emerged Chequered Skippers at Glasdrum. On 21/05/10, in brighter, warmer conditions, they found a single specimen at Elleric, together with a single Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Thanks to Trevor and Yvonne for visiting our site and contributing their records.

Drinker moth caterpillar (photo by Graham Crittenden)Thanks to Graham Crittenden for reporting his first Shears, Glaucous Shears and Flame Carpet of the season at Melvich, Sutherland, today.

Graham has also seen many Drinker caterpillars over past 5 weeks in many areas on the N coast - now up to about 70mm. Thanks to Graham for the photo.

See Moths of the Month, May 2009, for more information about the Drinker.


15+ Small Blues at Portknockie site; Kidney Vetch flower heads opening.

Fox Moth adult at NJ 490 687.


Small Blue habitat, Portknockie5 Small Blues reported at Portknockie (NJ 490 687) by George Mair. No Kidney Vetch flower heads open yet. Photo of Portknockie site opposite.

Also 10-12 Speckled Woods at Crannoch Loch, Cullen (NJ 522 664).


Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Rogart - underside (T Mainwood) Helen Mainwood recorded 2 Small Copper on her Littleferry transect, near Golspie, today.

Tony Mainwood observed at least 3 Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Rogart. Thanks to Tony for the photo opposite.

12/05/2010 gorse habitat, Green Hairstreak (Bill Slater)2 Speckled Wood and 2 Green Hairstreak at Culbin Forest (latter in area of gorse at NH 999 640).

Green Hairstreak at Culbin, 2010 (photo by B Brodie)Thanks to Barbara Brodie for reporting a Green Hairstreak at Culbin Forest, Moray (NH 975 619); also 20 Orange-tips at nearby Muirtown (NH 994 596).

Photo of Green Hairstreak by Barbara Brodie.


First reports this year of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries from Tony Mainwood (at Rogart) and Brian Neath (near Dornie) today.

Brian also recorded his first Green Hairstreak and Speckled Wood at Dornie today. Other species were Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock

07/05/2010 Thanks to Tony Mainwood for reporting an Orange-tip near Loch Fleet, SE Sutherland, today.

In our Spring Newsletter we wrote about a new guide to butterflies in the Gairloch area.

Guide to butterflies in the Gairloch areaThe guide is now on sale at the following outlets in Wester Ross:

  • The Tourist Information Office in Strath, Gairloch
  • The Gairloch Marine Life Centre, the Pier, Gairloch Harbour
  • Gairloch Heritage Museum, Achtercairn, Gairloch
  • The Treasure Chest gift shop, Gairloch Harbour
  • The Beinn Eighe Visitors Centre (SNH), Kinlochewe
  • The Ullapool Bookshop, The Quay, Ullapool
  • Bridge Cottage Cafe and Gallery, Poolewe

The guide contains a month by month look at the butterflies that may be found in the area, descriptions of recommended sites with a map and comments on footpaths. There are also charts showing flight periods, the nectar plants favoured by adults, and caterpillar foodplants. Photographs of butterflies, grouped according to general colour, help to complete the identification process.

Other publications in the series are: Part 1, Wild Flowers, Part 2, Spring and Summer Birds.

The price is expected to be around £3.95 per copy.


Brian Neath saw an Orange-tip at Plockton today along with a Green-veined White.

He also recorded 4 Peacocks on the Carr Brae transect today but no other species present.

Large Drinker caterpillars are very conspicuous just now.

30/04/2010 Brian Neath received a report of an Orange-tip at Balmacara today

Green-veined White (photo by Helen Mainwood)Helen Mainwood saw 2 Green-veined Whites in her garden in Golspie.

Photo by Helen Mainwood.

16/04/2010 George Mair saw his first Green-veined White of the year at Portknockie, NJ 492 684.

Thanks to Eoghain Maclean for sending details of Peacock sightings today:

Rassal National Nature Reserve, 3 seen by nearby resident Jenny Baker.

Talladale Gorge SSSI (beside Loch Maree) 1 seen and photographed by Eoghain Maclean (SNH Kinlochewe).

Ardlair, Letterewe Estate several seen by Peter Duncan (SNH Aviemore) who was holidaying in the area.

11/04/2010 Audrey Turner saw about a dozen Small Tortoiseshells at Aviemore and Craigellachie NNR. Also 9 Orange Underwing moths at Craigellachie, Grid Ref NH 88 12. Audrey comments on the warm, sunny weather over the weekend, in sharp contrast to the wintry conditions of just over a week ago. (See Moths of March for a photo and description of the Orange Underwing.)

Thanks to Graham Crittenden for this report: 'Peacock with "see-through" wings at Melvich, Sutherland on 10 and 11/4, plus Small Tortoiseshells. Only Common Quakers (see Moths of March) and Mottled Greys (see Moths of January and February) trapped so far'.

10/04/2010 Reporting from Dornie, Brian Neath writes: A staggering 400 moths of 19 species attracted to the Robinson trap on the 10th. 92 Clouded Drab, 82 Hebrew Character and 78 Common Quaker were inevitably the most numerous species but the catch also included 21 Red Chestnut, 17 Brindled Pug, a Brindled Ochre and an exceptionally early Grey Birch. Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell have also appeared here since the 11th and I have already seen more Small Torts than in the last two years combined - an encouraging sign.

Thanks to John Kemp for the following report: On South Uist some early records during April with Puss Moths from 10th ( 7 to light on 11th), Pyrausta despicata on 11th over a month early. Belted Beauties showing well at a number of west coast machair sites on Eriskay and South Uist. A Peacock butterfly on South Uist on 12th.

John's photos show, left to right, Belted Beauty, male and female, Puss Moth, and Pyrausta despicata.

  Pyrausta despicata (photo by John Kemp)Puss Moth (photo by John Kemp)Belted Beauty (photo by John Kemp)
10/04/2010 While walking at Coignafearn estate near Tomatin, Audrey and Bob Turner saw a Peacock butterfly and a Small Tortoiseshell, grid ref, NH 70 17. Later, at Aviemore, Grid Ref NH 89 13, they found 2 Small Tortoiseshells in the garage trying to get out, and helped release them. Also a pair of Small Tortoisehells seen in W Inverness garden, NH 646 461.
06/04/2010 Peacock in W Inverness garden, NH 646 461, 13:00, sunny.
20/03/2010 Thanks to Ailsa Taylor for her record of a Small Tortoiseshell on a snowdrop in her Kingussie garden today
(NH 757 007).

Brian Neath reports 16 Yellow Horned attracted to his trap at Dornie along with the first 3 Common Quakers. However there was only one March Moth in contrast to the high count a fortnight ago on 6th March.

Please click on the links above to see more information about these moths (Moths of March).

17/03/2010 Thanks to William Jeans for reporting a Peacock sighting at Nairn.
13/03/2010 A Peacock seen at Scorguie, Inverness, NH 646 461, at 11:30. Intermittent sunshine. (B Slater)
08/03/2010 Bob Turner observed a Small Tortoiseshell at Burnett Road, Inverness (NH 6646) this afternoon.

Dotted Border (photo by John Kemp)We're delighted to receive another report from the Outer Hebrides, this time from John Kemp, who writes "Here on South Uist the open habitat with often breezy conditions and colder than normal weather has meant a slow start to light trapping. Reasonable conditions on 6th March produced 13 Dotted Borders and 2 Acleris hyemana."


Acleris hyemana (photo by John Kemp)


March Moth (photo by Brian Neath)Brian Neath carried out his second moth trapping of the season on 6th March, attracting 52 moths of 6 species including 27 March Moths. Initially Brian thought this was a record count but on checking back found that he had 30 on the early date of 11th February 2004. Subsequently the highest count was 12 on 14th March 2006 until today's. The March Moth has a limited distribution in Wester Ross with only 6 records north of Lochalsh. In fact there are only 9 records in the Wester Ross database other than his own. There are four records from the Rothamsted station at Raasal in 1987 and 1988 and one from Beinn Eighe in 1994. However Max and Sue Pittman recorded one as far north as Ullapool in 2009 so the moth may be under recorded or possibly in the process of extending its range.

Thanks to Brian for providing the photo.

The other moths trapped were 12 Chestnut, 6 Dotted Border, 4 Mottled Grey, 2 Pale Brindled Beauty and a splendid Satellite.

Brian also had another March Moth and Dotted Border indoors. Surprisingly no Orthosia species as yet.

(Click on the links for more information about these species on the Moths of the Month pages, January and February and March.)

01/03/2010 early Peacock at Moidart (photo by Jean Cameron)Thanks to Jean Cameron for sending a record of a Peacock, seen at 14:30 on 1st March on the north side of Loch Sheil, Moidart (Grid ref NM 703697), flying in sunshine.
27/02/2010 Brian Neath's first moth trapping of the year on 27th February at Dornie produced 9 Chestnut, 3 Pale Brindled Beauty and single March Moth and Dotted Border. Nice to know that some moths have survived the big freeze! (Click on links for photos and more details.)
11/02/2010 Alison Cropper reports a Small Tortoiseshell at Claddach Kirkibost, North Uist, looking 'very sleepy and obviously cold'.

Mottled Umber (photo by Roy Leverton)Mike Taylor found a fresh-looking Mottled Umber resting on one of the doors of the wooden toilet block at Wellhill car park, Culbin Forest, at midday.

The photo, by Roy Leverton, shows a male. The female is flightless. This is an unusually late sighting for this moth.

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